Social Benefits and Programs

About Canada’s Social Benefits and Programs

Canada offers a range of social benefits and programs to support immigrants as they settle and integrate into Canadian society.

These programs aim to ensure newcomers have access to essential services, such as healthcare, education, and financial assistance. Here are some key social benefits and programs available to immigrants in Canada:

Healthcare (Medicare):

Canada provides publicly funded healthcare to all residents, including immigrants. Immigrants with permanent resident status are eligible for provincial or territorial health coverage, which covers medically necessary hospital and physician services.


Immigrant children have access to free public education from kindergarten to high school. Many provinces also offer English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) programs to help students improve their language skills.

Settlement Services:

Various government-funded organizations offer settlement services to help immigrants integrate into Canadian society. These services include language classes, employment counseling, and assistance with finding housing.

Language Training:

Immigrants can access language training programs to improve their English or French language skills. These programs help newcomers communicate effectively and enhance their employment prospects.

Child Benefits:

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) provides financial assistance to eligible families with children. This benefit helps families with the costs of raising children, including childcare and other expenses.

Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS):

Immigrants who meet the residency requirements can receive OAS and GIS benefits upon reaching retirement age. These programs provide financial support to seniors.

Employment Insurance (EI):

Immigrants who are eligible workers can access Employment Insurance benefits, including temporary financial assistance for those who lose their jobs.

Social Assistance:

Immigrants facing financial hardship may be eligible for social assistance, which provides financial support to cover basic needs such as housing, food, and clothing.

Housing Programs:

Some provinces offer housing programs and subsidies to help low-income individuals and families, including immigrants, find affordable housing.

Family Reunification:

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor eligible family members to come and live in Canada, promoting family reunification.

Refugee Programs:

Canada has programs to support refugees, including financial assistance, housing, and settlement services to help them rebuild their lives.

Legal Aid:

Immigrants who need legal assistance but cannot afford it may be eligible for subsidized legal aid services in areas such as immigration and family law.


It’s important to note that specific benefits and eligibility criteria can vary by province or territory, and some programs may have different requirements for different immigrant categories (e.g., refugees, economic immigrants, family class immigrants).

Immigrants are encouraged to research and connect with local settlement organizations to learn about the specific social benefits and programs available in their area.